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Sleet, flurries catch residents by surprise

By DAVID TEWES
Jan. 13, 2011 at 3:01 p.m.
Updated Jan. 12, 2011 at 7:13 p.m.


WEATHER TODAYThe temperature was in the upper to mid-30s in the Crossroads when sleet and snow flurries were reported.

The sleet formed when raindrops fell through a layer of freezing air above the ground, turning the drops into balls of ice.

While the surface air temperature was above freezing, the sleet didn't have time to melt before reaching the ground.

Crossroads residents were treated to a rare wintry mix of snow flurries, sleet and light rain Thursday morning.

But forecasters said that will be the last of the frozen precipitation for a while, with rain, warmer weather and possibly thunderstorms on tap for the weekend.

Sam Miles, who lives in north Victoria, was one of many surprised by what fell from the sky Thursday morning.

"I wasn't sure what it was at first," he said. "You could hear a noise and then you could start seeing it."

That's when Miles realized that it was sleeting, with small ice balls striking hard surfaces and bouncing. He said he encountered the sleet just after sunrise and then again about 8:45 a.m.

Tim Tinsley, with the National Weather Service, said the sleet, possibly mixed with a few snow flurries, wasn't limited to Victoria County.

"Radar was showing these light echo returns that basically extended from Goliad and Cuero all way over to Port Lavaca and Palacios," he said. "There probably was a mixture of snow, but I would think most of it was sleet."

Victoria resident Miguel Torres said it was dark when he first noticed something strange striking his car. At first he thought it was a swarm of bugs.

"But my windshield wasn't dirty," he said. "Everything was hitting the back window."

Torres said an hour or so later the precipitation turned into a mixture of sleet and flurries.

Harvey Babb, a amateur radio operator in Victoria, said he noticed the sleet just before 8 a.m.

"I first heard it on the carport and I looked out underneath the carport and just a few little pellets of sleet were falling," he said. Babb also said he later encountered a few snow flakes as he drove down Navarro Street.

Mellani Jones, district manager for the Advocate's circulation department, said she encountered sleet from Nursery to the east side of Victoria.

"We had a lot of sleet out there," she said. "It was awesome."

Jones said the sleet fell intermittently between 5:30 and 7 a.m., but it wasn't enough to force her to use her windshield wipers. "It was like you were looking out a window at it."

The arctic air that has had a grip on the Crossroad much of the week will move to the east, allowing for warmer weather.

The high temperatures will be in the 50s Friday, warming into the 60s Saturday and Sunday. The lows will range from about 40 Friday morning to the 50s Saturday and Sunday mornings.

There's a 50- to 60-percent chance of rain from Friday night into Sunday. There is a chance of thunderstorms Saturday night and Sunday.

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